How Now, Brown Cow?

October 3, 2010


“The rains in Spain fall mainly on the Plains.” said The Mushroom. “Now, Baby, your turn!”

The Baby was sitting on a cushion looking up happily at her mother. “The wains in Spain….hello, Daddy!”

“What you doing?” asked my Dad as he came in from work, wondering if The Mushroom was attempting to turn The Baby into some sort of mini, female, bald Olivier.

The Mushroom pointed angrily at him. “That’s IT! Don’t ever, ever, say that again. It’s YOUR FAULT!”

See, this is what happened earlier:

The Mushroom and The Baby were playing with their new set of Crayola Felt Markers (a purchasing choice The Mushroom regretted about eight minutes after this incident when she read the back bit where it mentioned ‘staining’ and looked at The Baby’s hands and chin, the rug and her jeans). The Mushroom was drawing a flower (allegedly).

“Wot yer doo-wen?” asked The Baby.

The Mushroom looked at her. “What?”

The Baby giggled. “I said, ‘Wot yer doo-wen?'”

“What am I doing? Well, for a start, I’m speaking in my normal accent. What are you doing?”

The Baby giggled again. “I’m speaking like Daddy.”

At this, The Mushroom had a kind of small seizure and fell over.

Daddy, you see, is from Hull.

This reaction from her is unfair and also probably racist. Somehow. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Hull accent.

Honestly.

(For those unfamiliar with the Hull accent, it can be found here, as can lots of interesting information about the Preston Road as told by some articulate Hull youngsters: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Le-Y_LY2ZkE)

The Mushroom is on a losing battle. For a start, she’s outnumbered. Everyone else in our household was born in Hull. Me? Holderness Road. My Dad? Hessle Road. The Baby? Anlaby Road. The Mushroom was born in Montreal. That pretty much makes her French. Nobody French has any call to start having a go at people for their English accent.

My Dad walked into the kitchen, non-plussed.

“Daddy? Daddy?” asked The Baby.

“Yes, love?”

“Daddy, where yer go-wen? Luv?” she giggled.

“Right,” said The Mushroom to my Dad. “You must simply stop speaking.”

“Love, you cannot control who she is,” said my Dad, lifting The Baby onto his knee. “She is from Hull. She is a Hull girl. Now, darling,  say, ‘fern curl’.”

“Fern Curl.”

I sidled up to them to show my Hull solidarity against the French woman.

“Say, ‘Bugger off Zeebies’.”

“Bugger off Zeebies.”

My Dad’s eyes welled up. “My Dad will be so proud.”

The Mushroom looked like she could do with some smelling salts. 

I wonder if it is a primal thing;  if mothers need their children to speak like them. I suppose in the Days Of Yore it didn’t feature as a topic of consideration cos nobody moved anywhere. Surely, though, eventually The Baby will speak like a Canadian, and say ‘oot’ and ‘aboot’ and ‘eh?’ and stuff and spend a sizeable proportion of her adult life telling people that no, she is not American, so does it matter that she currently impersonating her Daddy? It isn’t as if we live in Hull. She’s never going to really take out her mobile phone and ask to be excused whilst she takes this ‘fern curl’.

The praise from my Dad encouraged The Baby. Clearly, ‘speaking like Daddy’ is a wonderful thing that is both funny and gets her extra cuddles. This resulted in The Baby doing it more, and doing it bigger, so by the end of the evening she was sounding very like she was in ‘Kes’.

“Alright, sweetheart,” said my Dad, in response to The Baby’s request for a ‘mer strew-bair – rays’, “Don’t take the piss, now.”

“Don’t swear!” hissed The Mushroom.

“Ner! Ner Ner! Ner whey!” exclaimed The Baby. “I luv ma whippet!”*

*I made this bit up. But she might as well have said it.

My Dad looked at The Mushroom in a powerless state of panic. “But she’s turning into Brian Glover. It needs to stop.”

The baldness probably doesn’t help The Baby any on this one.

So back to the cushion it was, with The Baby happily repeating that Peter Piper did indeed pick a peck of pickled peppers, and The Baby is back speaking like The Mushroom, whose accent is completely fake anyway because, as I have already mentioned, she is blatantly French.

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3 Responses to “How Now, Brown Cow?”

  1. mrs emo said

    The Hull accent is a fine thing indeed. Brian Glover is from bloody Sheffield. For the love of God.

    • annablagona said

      I think my Dad tried to tell The Baby that, but she was far too busy recounting stories about her time down t’ pit to listen.

  2. notwavingbutironing said

    Zut alors! This will never do! Sympathies to you. My husband is from Northern Ireland and despairs that his children are being raised in Southeast England. And that they fall about laughing when we go to Belfast and their cousins ask, ‘Would you like a wee drink?’

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